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Money-raking awards ceremony ditched by women’s groups


Scottish Women's Awards created to make profit

A private company is targeting women’s charities in a bid to profit from a glitzy awards ceremony.

Creative Oceanic is running the Scottish Women’s Awards - ostensibly set up to “celebrate outstanding women’s achievements” - encouraging scores of charities and individuals to part with £75 to attend.

But prominent women’s groups have abandoned the 12 September event at Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza hotel, believing it to be little more than a money-making scheme.

They are now warning others to be cautious of these kinds of events which, they believe, lack transparency.

TFN first exposed Creative Oceanic last year after it began targeting third sector groups for another awards ceremony – the Diversity Awards.

After TFN broke the story on the Diversity Awards, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) warned charities to be cautious about these ceremonies.

Creative usually sets up ceremonies for the likes of the hairdressing and wedding industries.

The Women’s Awards run an astonishing 32 categories with around 10 individuals nominated in each. For context this year’s Scottish Charity Awards, run by SCVO, had nine categories.

Its Facebook page carries a picture of former first lady Michelle Obama alongside various quotes from iconic women through history.

Engender, which had been nominated for an award, said in a statement: “Often these awards will claim that nominations come from the public, but we have yet to see evidence of this on their social media channels, and they often give no information on how categories are decided or judged.

“To attend the "glamorous" awards ceremony, dedicated women's and equalities campaigners are asked to pay upwards of £100 per seat - illustrating just how little they understand about a sector in need of significant funding.”

Women’s groups are instead backing an event on Monday 13 August to celebrate women’s campaign groups, equalities organisations, and individual gender advocates on social media using the hashtag #ScotWomenShoutOut.

The Young Women’s Movement (YWCA Scotland) also received a nomination for the awards before choosing to withdraw.

Director Patrycja Kupiec, quoted in Commonspace, said: “The Young Women's Movement stands behind Engender's statement.

“Trying to make a profit on an already underfunded sector does not sit well with us, so instead we will be celebrating the achievements of gender equality champions in Scotland by joining Engender and other organisations in #ScotWomenShoutOut on Monday.”

Last year Joe Kahn, one of the directors behind the awards, explicitly stated the ceremonies were created to make profit.

He told TFN: “You look at markets, you identify markets that will help your brand grow. We rely on ticket sales and sponsorship.

“We are here to make money, let me make that absolutely clear. We are a private company. We identify new markets we can target, we have the event to pay for, we have to make sure that everything is being done properly. That’s out in the open, it’s not something we hide behind. We run projects to make money.”

We are here to make money, let me make that absolutely clear - Joe Kahn

Bosses behind the awards run a number of different of outfits including: Creative Oceanic Ltd, Creative Oceanic Scotland Ltd, Oceanic Consulting Ltd, Oceanic Retail Ltd, Oceanic Media Consulting Ltd. and Oceanic Group Ltd.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Women’s Awards said: “This is the second Scottish Women’s Awards and we have yet to receive a complaint. We are very disappointed to see that our attempt to acknowledge female role-models and heroes that often remain un-recognised is being boycotted by feminist organisations.

“We all have the same vision; to promote inspirational women and celebrate their achievements, we all just have different ways of achieving this.”

The spokesperson said the 2017 ceremony raised £2,900 for the Women's Fund for Scotland.



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over 2 years ago
Further, of the over 300 nominees in 32 categories just 19 are women who do not live/work in the central belt. That's 6.27% of the nominees for an area that includes 35% of the population. This could be for one of two reasons: 1. The women in the Highlands, Islands and North-East are not leading lights in any of their respective areas of expertise (though, living here, I do seem to be surrounded by exceptional women of substance) or; 2. The organisation behind the awards would, on the face of it, seem to be targeting the areas most likely to buy tickets and travel to an awards ceremony in Glasgow. I know which reason makes the most sense to me but either way it does not suggest an objective process that reflects reality or invests a sense of meaning or trust to the recognition being offered.